Ted Sarandos ‘screwed up’ response to Chappelle backlash, but still stands by Netflix special

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controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s transphobic comment in his latest stand-up special intensified late Tuesday night, because Netflix’s Ted Sarandos A flurry of phone interviews ensued in which he admitted that he “spoiled” his response to the staff, but reiterated his support for the comedy show.

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While the embattled co-CEO allowed that storytelling can sometimes have a negative impact on society, he said he didn’t have Chappelle’s experience. “near” A disclaimer is required.

“I should have acknowledged first and foremost in those emails that a group of our employees were in pain, and they felt really hurt by the business decision we made,” Sarandos told the Hollywood Reporter. He also spoke with Deadline and Variety. “And I, instead of admitting it at first, I went right into some of the arguments.”


Sarandos noted that Chappelle follows the tradition of comedians who push boundaries, but are the talk of the show. where variety “I can’t believe it comes in hate speech” because the jokes weren’t intended to cause physical harm.

The executive’s remarks came hours before Wednesday’s planned virtual walkout by Netflix’s trans employees. The protest stems from Chappelle’s “closer” jokes about trans people and complaints about their re-alignment with those who believe that a human’s gender at birth is immutable. Employees have expressed concern that such rhetoric could lead to violence against marginalized communities.

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The negative spotlight on Netflix is ​​in stark contrast to the recent glow: The content-making powerhouse, which is responsible for hits ranging from “Tiger King” to “Squid Game,” won 44 Emmys this year and hit 200 million subscribers. On Tuesday, Netflix reported third-quarter profit and subscriber growth numbers that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

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Here’s what the problem is and how we got here:

Dave Chappelle describes gender as ‘a fact’ in his new Netflix comedy special, ‘The Closer’

On October 5, Netflix began streaming “The Closer,” a highly anticipated new special from Chappelle, which quickly became one of the service’s most-watched shows. In it, the Emmy winner reacted to complaints that her 2019 stand-up special “Sticks and Stones” was “punching down” on the trans community.

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Dave Chappelle has spoken out in support of "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling, who shocked fans with her comments about "erasing the concept of sex".

In “The Closer”, Chappelle recounts the December 2019 controversy to which “Harry Potter” writer JK Rowling reacted Having sex with penis and defending views that suggested that changing one’s biological gender was a threat to one’s own gender identity.

“I agree, man. Gender is a fact,” Chappelle, 48, said in “The Closer.” “Every man in this room, every man on earth had to pass through the feet of a woman to be on earth. That’s a fact.”

LGBTQ+ community calls Dave Chappelle’s comment transphobic, Netflix suspends several employees

“The Closer” generated backlash on social media from both the LGBTQ+ community and some Netflix employees, who expressed concern that the particular promoted transphobic attitudes at a time when violence against such Americans is on the rise. were there 44 murders of trans people in 2020According to Human Rights Watch.

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Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings (left) and Ted Sarandos haven't backed down on their support for Dave Chappelle's special.

Last week, Tera Fields, a Netflix software engineer who is trans, was one of the three employees suspended To join a virtual quarterly meeting of top executives without invitation. They were later reinstated, according to Hollywood Reporter. on Friday, netflix fired An unnamed employee who leaked how much Netflix paid for “The Closer” (reported $24.1 million), with special viewership (one crore).

In a series of tweets, Fields said the special “attacks the trans community, and the very legitimacy of transness.” During two memos to employees, Sarandos defended the company’s association with Chappelle, refusing to remove the special and questioning the need for alarm. “While some employees disagree, we firmly believe that onscreen content does not directly harm the real world,” he wrote.

Trans employees plan virtual walkout to protest Netflix’s support for special

Not much is known about how widespread the walkout will be. According to ledge And Hollywood Reporter, a virtual walkout being organized by Netflix’s Trans Employee Resource Group and focused at Netflix’s Los Angeles offices. in one instagram Post, organizer Ashlee Marie Preston encouraged others to join an in-person rally outside the Netflix building on Sunset Boulevard.

The goal of the walkout is to “use this moment to shift the social ecology that Netflix believes to lead ethical entertainment, while establishing policies and guidelines that protect employees and consumers alike,” Preston said. Wrote.

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Jerry Seinfeld (right) meets Dave Chappelle in an episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee".

The post said a list of what the group plans to present to Netflix will be made public during the walkout. But Field wrote in an essay on Monday on his blog Pulling that particular is not a problem. Instead, Field wants media companies to “stop pretending that transphobia has no effect” in the media and “put a content warning in front of existing content that contains transphobia.”

Celebrities Gather for a PSA

Jacqueline Moore, the creator of Chappelle’s special, “Dear White People” series, tweeted last week that it won’t work with the streaming service As long as it “continues to explicitly and dangerously exit and benefit from transphobic material.”

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, who was quoted by Sarandos in a widely circulated memo to staff, Slamming the CEO on Instagram, writing, “Now I have to deal Even more hate and anger Dave Chappelle fans like to spread on me Every time Dave receives $20 million to process his emotionally underdeveloped partial world view. “

As part of Wednesday’s walkout, organizers also plan to present Sarandos with a public service announcement that will include stars such as Angelica Ross, Jonathan Van Ness, Jameela Jamil and Colton Haynes.

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